Casinos love data. Data helps them see trends on the casino floor, which games are the most popular, and plenty of other actionable intelligence. But player-specific data is important too.
Casinos will track you if you let them, and their way for doing so is through your players card. However, they aim to make it worth your while, by connecting the use of the players card through the earning of discounts, comps, offers and more.
For the most part, the only way casinos know what you’re playing and how much you’re winning and losing is through the use of that card. So they can only track your winnings when the card is in play.
The primary exception is when you receive a handpay jackpot – a win of $1,200 or more on a single wager. Because of the reporting requirements to the IRS, they will have to record who won that and report it, so therefore that is tracked for every player that gets one or more of these wins.
As a result of this, some players will purposely play without their card at times, or attempt to pull their card when a big win is happening, or if they get a bonus, to try to fool the system in some way.
Aside from losing out on the comp value of wagers not tracked, this is also a core reason why the IRS won’t accept win/loss records on their own in the event of an audit – it’s too easy for a machine to time out a card, a card to not be accepted, or a player to purposely not use their card. (This is a good time to remind that we always advice you discuss your specific tax situation with your accountant to know the best way to handle things.)
So yes, casinos want to track your winnings and do so via your players card, but they track that among other data to know what type of player you are and to be able to extend you offers, so it’s not for a nefarious purpose.
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